A number of the Elk Valley’s teams, clubs, and classes have suspended play in light of Dr. Bonnie Henry’s updates issued on Dec. 2 and Dec. 3 prohibiting all outdoor and indoor adult sport.
With last week’s orders having been extended as of the announcement made on Dec. 7, indoor and outdoor sports for those aged 19 or older continues to be prohibited, including ice hockey, curling, volleyball, basketball, and soccer.
The Fernie Volleyball Club (FVC) was also mandated to cease their Tune Up Program – a series of coaching sessions that kicked off in November.
According to FVC coach Dennis Staples, the effects of the pause may bleed into tryout season.
“Phase two is reasonably limiting, so until the City of Fernie closes facilities on Dec. 24 for the holidays we don’t think trying to run a new program makes sense for the next couple weeks,” said Staples.
“And we generally feel that having a bit of a push now to keep people apart may be prudent and hopefully lets us get going in January with our tryouts.”
Staples added that the FVC will likely mandate masks even while playing when the season resumes, and that tryouts may see a number of modifications turning to reviewing individual skills rather than overall team play.
The Elk Valley Gymnastics Club is also facing a number of changes to their programming due to the pandemic, including the cancellation of their Adult Gymnastics classes.
“The regulations have made for a challenging year for us as coaches and our gymnasts – it has challenged us to change up the way we coach,” said Cristina Gillrie from the Elk Valley Gymnastics Club.
“Before COVID, we coached with a heavy reliance on verbal and physical cues… This year we have had to teach strictly by verbal and demonstrations.”
According to Gillrie, the new regulations mandate that coaches and gymnasts must maintain a three metre distance between each other, pushing gymnasts to train much more independently.
Similarly, the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) has suspended games for the remainder of 2020.
“In light of ongoing provincial restrictions limiting game play, team practices, and participation of players over the age of 18, the KIJHL has announced a postponement of all regular season games scheduled through December 31,” said an update made on the KIJHL website on Dec. 4.
“KIJHL teams may continue to conduct on-ice activities that abide by the Provincial Health Order until our holiday break begins on Dec. 19.”
The Fernie Old Growth Hockey Club is also affected by the new regulations, unable to continue practicing for the time being.
“That’s unfortunate, but it is what it is, we will obviously have to adhere to all of those policies,” said player Mike Low.
“We would play as long as they would allow us, but as soon as they restrict it that’s obviously the end of it.”
Among the prohibited high intensity group fitness classes are hot yoga, spin, dance, and more.
For more information on the province’s updated COVID-19 plan, visit the Government of British Columbia’s website.